She comes from a very close Armenian family. She is the eldest of three sisters, and I have often envied the relationships they have. I do have two brothers, but they are 20 years my senior, and we are not very close, geographically or otherwise.
I got a text from her today that said her dad is in stage 3 malignant bladder cancer. He will begin radiation treatments in the morning. The prognosis is for a 70-80% chance of stopping the growth with a 5 year maximum longevity. Chemotherapy will follow the radiation.
The news hit me like a brick! My own father died of bladder cancer the year before I met my friend. I was 14, and for 5 years my dad was a man we visited in the VA hospital who came home for periods of time, but never returned to work. It was horrible. All the memories of my mom struggling with a menopause, a tween daughter, and having to go back to work came back to me. CANCER SUCKS. It sucks the life out of people who have it and of those they love.
I would like to believe that cancer treatment has come a long way in the last 35 years, but i just can't. I don't see that his treatment plan is any different than my dad's. My dad ended up having his bladder removed, and the cancer spread until he also had a colostomy. He was a big man, probably 250 pounds, and weighed about 90 when he died. It was sickening to watch, but even worse was hearing my mom crying in her room at night. I will always remember the phone call in the middle of the night when he passed away.
I texted my friend back. I told her I was sorry to hear it, and inquired about her mom. She said her sister was there and was a blessing, and that her and her other sister in AZ would be traveling back to Illinois soon. I tried then to call her and got a voicemail. I left a sappy message, but was actually relieved she hadn't answered, because I was all choked up and started to cry, which would not have been very comforting.
I later got an email from the youngest of the sisters, basically repeating the news. I composed an email back, and copied it to my friend. I assured them I would pray for guidance and wisdom for the doctors, peace and patience for Iris, comfort and healing for John. I also said that I was thankful that he has the Lord, and such amazing daughters.
I've been sad ever since. I know there is nothing I can do, but I wish I could just wrap my arms around those wonderful women and the amazing parents that raised them. God bless them as they climb this most difficult mountain.